I was adopted by David Apodaca, a Latino with an incredible work ethic and brilliant mind. When he adopted me, it changed not only my name, but also the trajectory of my whole life. I understand myself as Mike Apodaca, David’s son.
In the ancient Roman world, there was no upward mobility. You were born into your place in life. All power was held by a very small group of political administrators. So, Christians knew what it was like to have esteem only from your position in a family or a guild. A person might become wealthy through trade or commerce, but they were powerless in the nation. A Roman soldier could take from you whatever he wanted and if you didn’t behave properly, could inflict severe punishment on you. People did not have value because they were people. They were cogs in the state.
In this context, the Christians came and said that God Himself had adopted them into His family, changing their present reality and that of their eternal existence. This actually happened in Rome. The Caesar, Julius, who did not have an heir he considered worthy of the throne, adopted Augustus, making him royalty and setting him up to be the next emperor. In this adoption, all that belonged to Julius Caesar was passed down to his chosen heir. In the same way, Christians, by virtue of their adoption, receive everything that belongs to their Father, God. Just look at what the Scriptures say:
Ephesians 1:11-14 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee4 of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Colossians 1:12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
1 Peter 1:4 and we have a priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
Colossians 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may
receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
On top of this, there is an entire theme of inheritance from the Old Testament. Israel received the inheritance of the Promised Land from God (Genesis 15:18-21).
The Christian’s identity is shaped first and foremost by the fact that s/he has been adopted by God as a son/daughter in his own household. By virtue of this, Christians have Jesus as an adopted brother, they have the inheritance of God. Whereas, in our world, inheritances are acquired when one of our ancestors dies, in Christ, we receive the benefits of our inheritance when we die in Him, something pictured in our baptism.
So, Christians, we have an incredibly high position—we are adopted into God’s family. We don’t have to look to our culture, or political party, our race, our economic status, our nationality, our appearance or stature, or anything else originating in this world to give us value. We are God’s kids. So celebrate. Rejoice. Jump up and down. Be thankful. But never, and I mean never, turn to anything less for your understanding of what your value is.